Let us just start off by saying that we LOVE Laguna Gloria (also known as AMOA – Arthouse or The Contemporary Austin) in Austin, Texas. Not only is the building beautiful but the grounds are stunning and offer a number of different ceremony and reception location options. As Austin wedding planners, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many couples that have chosen Laguna Gloria as their wedding venue and have always been thrilled with their wedding day. Not to mention that the staff is super accommodating with everything we’ve ever asked for.
But today’s post is not to gush over their venue (well, maybe just a little) but to talk about the business side of choosing Laguna Gloria for your wedding. I know, I know. That’s no fun at all! But sooner or later you’ll be zapped back to reality and you’ll need to go over the finer points of the contract.
So let’s start there – The Contract. It’s LONG. And filled with a lot of details that you shouldn’t overlook. And this is the number one place where our couples get caught up. They love the venue so much that they start to kind of glaze over when the venue staff starts going through all of the details. One – because there are a lot of details. And Two – because it’s easy to overlook the details when you’re so excited about finding that perfect venue! But make no mistake – these ladies are professionals that care about the reputation of their venue. They do not forget to tell you! Trust me. They work with their contract day after day and they know it backwards and forwards. They know that there are a lot of details to consider. That’s why their contract states that “AMOA-Arthouse highly recommends carefully reviewing your budget with a recommended coordinator before booking the venue“.
But even though they tell all of their couples all of the information, we’ve had this exact conversation in our office a dozen times. It goes something like this:
YUE: So, let’s review the catering options with you.
Couple: Yeah, we’re going to use our uncle. He owns a catering company.
YUE: Is he on the approved caterers list?
Couple: What do you mean? What list?
YUE: This list (pulls out contract and highlights the words “Clients must select a caterer from the approved list” on said contract)
Couple: Oh my gosh, we didn’t know that!
And this same conversation has played out about tables and chairs, tents, sound, you name it, more than once in our office. We hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are very specific rules that you have to follow if you want to get married at Laguna Gloria. Am I telling you that you shouldn’t choose this wedding venue? Heck No! Laguna Gloria is an amazing wedding venue and you are going to love getting married there. We’re just saying that you should have a true understanding of all of the caveats of choosing this venue. It’s totally worth it but you just need to follow the rules, that’s all! And then you’ll be prepared financially and there won’t be any surprises.
So, what are the Key Things that you Need To Know about Choosing Laguna Gloria for your Wedding Venue?
- The spaces aren’t logical to host more than 150 or so guests in the same area at one time, so if your guest count looks more like 200, you have a couple of options. 1.) Reduce your guest count. 2.) Create different “zones” at your event with guests spread throughout comfortably. If you choose option 2, you’ll need to prepare for the potential of needing additional seating groups, rentals, and lighting.
- There are no rentals included with the venue. That means you are responsible for all of your own tables, chairs, linens, etc.
- All rentals are required to be picked up and removed from the property immediately following your wedding. That means that there will be a late night pick up fee from your rental company, usually from $300 – $500.
- You will be required to have a rain back up tent on hold for all weddings expecting more than 75 guests and are strongly encouraged to have a tent if you are planning to have 50 or more guests for a seated event. This means that you will need to pay for one half of the total cost of a tent rental, regardless of whether you end up needing it or not. If you do need the tent, you will pay the full amount of the tent rental. This starts at approximately $3000 and goes up from there. If there is another event at Laguna Gloria that weekend there is often an option to share the cost of the tent with the other party. This is not always the case, though, so you should budget as if this is not an option. The terrace tent is required to be rented from Marquee Event Rentals but you can rent other tenting from Premiere Events, Peerless Tents, or Whim Hospitality.
- The venue must be left in exactly the same condition in which it was rented. That means that all items must be returned to their original locations.
This is a working museum during the day, which means that your rental and venue access time is limited. If you have a lot of details that require a lot of set up, there will be additional charges from the vendors, as they will need to have additional staff to set up on your wedding day in the short period of time that is available. Venue rental time typically begins at 3pm so that means that you usually have less than 3 hours to completely set up for your wedding! That’s not a lot of time when you’re setting tables, chairs, linens, china, floral and decor, tents, lighting, and more.
- You will be charged by the hour for all clean up that goes past your rental time. It’s $50 per hour. There is a $65 clean up fee for the venue.
- You are required to have an Event Planner for all weddings with a guest count of 75 or more. It’s essential that they have worked at Laguna Gloria before and understand all that is involved in working at this venue. This usually begins in the low $2,000 range and be as much as several thousand dollars, depending upon your specific wedding details.
- Your wedding timeline must be pre approved, in writing, from Laguna Gloria.
- You are required to have at least one Manager on Duty and one Security Guard, from the venue, on site at all times throughout your wedding. There are staffing charges for this that starts at $500.
- Depending upon the size of your wedding, a catering tent may also be required, as there are no commercial kitchen facilities at Laguna Gloria. This could be $1500 or more.
- One of the areas that you will save on your wedding costs is the bar, since you’re allowed to bring in your own alcohol. We recommend having it delivered by Spec’s or another local source. However, all alcohol must be served by a licensed and bonded TABC certified bartender.
- For your DJ or Band, the sound levels may never go over 80 decibels, so you will be required to rent a specific sound system through the venue. This is about $935.
- For bands that have more than 4 pieces, a special whisper generator (that doesn’t make a ton of noise) is required. This is $1500.
- There are only 50 parking spots so all weddings over 150 guests should consider have a shuttle service or Valet service for their guests. There are only 3 approved vendors for this. You should budget between $3,000 and $4,500 for this.
- There is a membership requirement. You must purchase at least a Supporter Level membership, for $250.
- Glitter, confetti, streamers, silly string, fireworks and helium balloons are not allowed. Neither are tape, wire, staples, tacks, glue, etc. allowed to be adhered to the walls.
- Ice sculptures are prohibited inside the museum. You may only have them outdoors.
- Smoking is prohibited, except on the paved parking lot. All cigarette butts found will be charged to you at $1 each.
- UPDATE (March 27, 2014) – For all new contracts and 2015 events there will be no sparklers allowed! Even if there is not a burn ban at the time. So, you will need to make other plans for your final exit.
- UPDATE (March 27, 2014) – You may no longer have your ceremony or tenting on the front lawn. This is no longer allowed.
- UPDATE (May 5, 2014) – There is a new sign that has been installed in the dining room that is permanent (temporarily) and will stay installed through September 2014. It is 24 foot long and CAN NOT be removed for events but can be covered with pipe and drape during your event. This is not a cost covered by Laguna Gloria. You would need to rent this if you want to cover the signage.
This is a photo of the non removable signage that is currently on display in the ballroom.
- UPDATE (MAY 21, 2015) – There is a new sculpture on the front lawn at the entrance. It’s larger than life! Or at least larger (taller) than the building. He reminds me of when you eat at Freebirds and make shapes out of your leftover tinfoil, except much much much larger.
Are these all of the things you need to know? No! But this should give you a good idea of a majority of the costs you might not have considered. There are also a ton of little tips and tricks for working at Laguna Gloria that only a seasoned event planner would know, so please think through this decision carefully as well.
Check out one of our Laguna Gloria weddings that was featured on Style Me Pretty!
PLEASE NOTE — While we strive to give you very accurate information, things change a lot in the world of venues and weddings, so please use this blog as a guide and not as the letter of the law. We do make regular updates to this blog as we gain new information about hosting events at Laguna Gloria. Please remember that this is a working museum and there are changing art installations that may restrict the access to certain areas of the museum from time to time. By the time you read this, there may also have been some changes to their rules (additions or subtractions) so please feel free to give us a call at #512-902-2743 with any questions you might have about booking your wedding at Laguna Gloria in Austin, Texas.